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Civilization
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2,713 Posts
Are you really sure you want to go to Iraq at this time??

Crazy, you've got some guts man. I'm sorry, but I've got no information for you...

All I've got to say is good luck!

-macon4ever
 

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Civilization
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2,713 Posts
Wow,Southern European and I posted basically the same thing at the same time lol. telepathy??
 

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Ayatollah
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1,924 Posts
Hey all...

I need help from very experienced travellers, who may have travelled in hostile environments. Me and an Iraqi friend from Basra are planning a trip to Iraq, with plans of short excursion everyday through selected neighbourhoods of Baghdad (most likely will be entering by ferry to Umm Qasr then drive via secluded roads). Are there any travellers here who have visited Iraq Lebenon or Israel/Palistine since 2003 that would like to comment on their trips? I met one student who visited, but lost contact with him a few months ago.
Perhaps you guys should wait a bit until the country becomes serene once more (if it ever does) ...pity about Iraq, Baghdad especially.
 

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Premium Member
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30,797 Posts
Hey all...

I need help from very experienced travellers, who may have travelled in hostile environments. Me and an Iraqi friend from Basra are planning a trip to Iraq, with plans of short excursion everyday through selected neighbourhoods of Baghdad (most likely will be entering by ferry to Umm Qasr then drive via secluded roads). Are there any travellers here who have visited Iraq Lebenon or Israel/Palistine since 2003 that would like to comment on their trips? I met one student who visited, but lost contact with him a few months ago.
I would probably NOT go to Iraq if I were you, if you do...be very safe.

I have heard that the highways in Iraq at first are rife with bandits, especially in the South. A Western tourist with an Iraqi is a like a prize to them and they may (or you may not go through trouble at all) kidnap you. And don't get me started on Baghdad, cruising through the neighborhoods when the city is during a state of war isn't a good idea at all.

If you do this, well you have extreme courage and I hope nothing happens. Personally, I wouldn't visit it until things calmed down intensely, which isn't happening anytime soon.

Probably Kurdish Iraq may be a OK place to visit however. At least that area is doing well.
 

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Skybar Posts: 24,564
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would probably NOT go to Iraq if I were you, if you do...be very safe.

I have heard that the highways in Iraq at first are rife with bandits, especially in the South. A Western tourist with an Iraqi is a like a prize to them and they may (or you may not go through trouble at all) kidnap you. And don't get me started on Baghdad, cruising through the neighborhoods when the city is during a state of war isn't a good idea at all.

If you do this, well you have extreme courage and I hope nothing happens. Personally, I wouldn't visit it until things calmed down intensely, which isn't happening anytime soon.

Probably Kurdish Iraq may be a OK place to visit however. At least that area is doing well.
Hopefully its courage instead of a misjudged reality. Thats the primary thing. I want to hear what others have to say about their trip before I make my final decision. I dont want to march into the departure terminal with my head up, and crap my pants when I hear the first clip being emptied in Iraq. It's best to get in touch with the true reality, not an artificial one built from the television and newswires.

That being said, I expect people on this forum have visited Iraq. I even know some Iraqis that have visited before now and after 2003 (but only in the South).

I also am suspicious of the "Extreme advisory against visiting Iraq" seen on the websites of the foreign affairs ministries of Canada and the US. Obviously they would say that, because the less of their nationals in a warzone...the less burden put on their governments.
 

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Premium member
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Make sure you put an american flag on your backpack.
 

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Global Citizen
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I consider myself an experienced traveller, but even if you offered me a million Euros/Dollars I wouldn't go on an overland trip in Iraq that includes such things as cruising around the Baghdad neighbourhoods.

Courage has nothing to do with going on such a trip, but only downright stupidity.

Iraq has lots of cultural treasures, no doubt about this. But it is as far away from a tourist destination (even for very experienced travellers looking for adventures) as possible and that's unfortunately not going to change within the next 5-10 years.

Iraq right now is a warzone, where hundreds of people are killed each and every day and a foreigner is like the ultimate target for many terrorists there.

Furthermore Iraq is not a country where you can move around just as you like it. I guess if the US troops stop your car at a control point and realize you are neither a journalist or somebody who works there and that you also travel without bodyguards that would mean the end of your journey.

So if you would like to play the leading role in an Al-Qaida video featuring terrorists beheading a western tourist, go for it. Otherwise I can only strongly advise you to look for another destination.
 

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make it so...
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in addition to iraq, may i suggest other places?

spend a few days in gaza and get your picture taken with some friendly hamas militants waving RPG's in the air then journey to west bank where you can buy a souvenir keffiyeh like the one arafat wore. i also heard kabul, mogadishu and darfur are lovely this time of year.
 

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Civilization
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^^^ LOL!!!!

Yeah, rapid i would wait until the country is more stable before going...
 

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Premium Member
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30,797 Posts
Hopefully its courage instead of a misjudged reality. Thats the primary thing. I want to hear what others have to say about their trip before I make my final decision. I dont want to march into the departure terminal with my head up, and crap my pants when I hear the first clip being emptied in Iraq. It's best to get in touch with the true reality, not an artificial one built from the television and newswires.

That being said, I expect people on this forum have visited Iraq. I even know some Iraqis that have visited before now and after 2003 (but only in the South).

I also am suspicious of the "Extreme advisory against visiting Iraq" seen on the websites of the foreign affairs ministries of Canada and the US. Obviously they would say that, because the less of their nationals in a warzone...the less burden put on their governments.
While I am sure that there are safe places where people live normally, I'm not going to be delusional to myself, it's an uncertain warzone that wouldn't even be safe for visitors of Iraqi descent. There may be a little bit of semblance, but that's in a sea of instability, and Baghdad is the eye of the storm.

While I would normally be suspicious of that "advisory" (they have advisories for practically half the world), this is one of the advisories that make sense to me. In the US's case, they don't want any MORE Americans there than the over 150k there right now, so it makes no difference to me.

I would wait a while. Iraq will eventually be nice after they go through this involuntary change forced upon them by the Americans, they are going through the violent transitions now which was going to happen obviously. They have too much potential to become a Somalia (which has been in pointless conflict for 16 years and counting).
in addition to iraq, may i suggest other places?

spend a few days in gaza and get your picture taken with some friendly hamas militants waving RPG's in the air then journey to west bank where you can buy a souvenir keffiyeh like the one arafat wore. i also heard kabul, mogadishu and darfur are lovely this time of year.
The Mog is quite the beautiful city in June...

...if you wear a bulletproof vest and bring an AK! :gunz:

(All this poking at myself is really hurting me inside, just kidding)
 

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Skybar Posts: 24,564
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I consider myself an experienced traveller, but even if you offered me a million Euros/Dollars I wouldn't go on an overland trip in Iraq that includes such things as cruising around the Baghdad neighbourhoods.

Courage has nothing to do with going on such a trip, but only downright stupidity.

Iraq has lots of cultural treasures, no doubt about this. But it is as far away from a tourist destination (even for very experienced travellers looking for adventures) as possible and that's unfortunately not going to change within the next 5-10 years.

Iraq right now is a warzone, where hundreds of people are killed each and every day and a foreigner is like the ultimate target for many terrorists there.

Furthermore Iraq is not a country where you can move around just as you like it. I guess if the US troops stop your car at a control point and realize you are neither a journalist or somebody who works there and that you also travel without bodyguards that would mean the end of your journey.

So if you would like to play the leading role in an Al-Qaida video featuring terrorists beheading a western tourist, go for it. Otherwise I can only strongly advise you to look for another destination.
Is it really that violent? The city has 7 million people in it, and they're living their lives normally. Westerners look too afraid for anything.

in addition to iraq, may i suggest other places?

spend a few days in gaza and get your picture taken with some friendly hamas militants waving RPG's in the air then journey to west bank where you can buy a souvenir keffiyeh like the one arafat wore. i also heard kabul, mogadishu and darfur are lovely this time of year.
Looks like hell is gonna break loose in Gaza as Hamas just secured it for themselves, therefore it makes it an option

While I am sure that there are safe places where people live normally, I'm not going to be delusional to myself, it's an uncertain warzone that wouldn't even be safe for visitors of Iraqi descent. There may be a little bit of semblance, but that's in a sea of instability, and Baghdad is the eye of the storm.

While I would normally be suspicious of that "advisory" (they have advisories for practically half the world), this is one of the advisories that make sense to me. In the US's case, they don't want any MORE Americans there than the over 150k there right now, so it makes no difference to me.

I would wait a while. Iraq will eventually be nice after they go through this involuntary change forced upon them by the Americans, they are going through the violent transitions now which was going to happen obviously. They have too much potential to become a Somalia (which has been in pointless conflict for 16 years and counting).


The Mog is quite the beautiful city in June...

...if you wear a bulletproof vest and bring an AK! :gunz:

(All this poking at myself is really hurting me inside, just kidding)
My friend visited family in Mogadiscou before the violence there and got a picture with AKs and the locals. Right now anything like that is too stable. Going to a stable place defeats the purpose of me going.

Baghdad is in a war, but its no Somme or Stalingrad
 

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Global Citizen
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Seriously, I wonder if some of your answers are for real or if you are just joking. If you don't, you really must have a death wish.

Is it really that violent? The city has 7 million people in it, and they're living their lives normally. Westerners look too afraid for anything.
They live anything but a normal life....how could they, given the circumstances. Basically everyone in Baghdad only leaves the house if they have no alternative, otherwise people lock themselves in their homes and there is barely a family that hasn't lost a family member in the ongoing war.

Westerners too afraid of anything? I don't think so. I've walked the streets of Johannesburg, Mexico City, Casablanca and Detroit at night, I've been the victim of an armed robbery and many other crimes during my travels and have developed quite a bit of experience when it comes to safety on travels. Part of that experience is also to realize that there are no-go-zones and no matter how tempted you are to go there, that you have the smartness for your safety's sake to say no. And Iraq right now is one giant no-go-zone for a westerner.

My friend visited family in Mogadiscou before the violence there and got a picture with AKs and the locals. Right now anything like that is too stable. Going to a stable place defeats the purpose of me going.
Yup...a holiday isn't great unless you see lots of misery, death, desperation and destruction...right? :eek:hno:
 

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Registered
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why are you going to Iraq? do you really care?

or are you just trying to be "different"?
ask yourself honestly if you are "trying" to be the "type" of "enlightened" "traveller" that many college students in N. America want to be.
if that is the reason... then dont go.
 

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Skybar Posts: 24,564
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yup...a holiday isn't great unless you see lots of misery, death, desperation and destruction...right? :eek:hno:
Ok...why does travel always have to be considered a "holiday"??

why are you going to Iraq? do you really care?

or are you just trying to be "different"?
ask yourself honestly if you are "trying" to be the "type" of "enlightened" "traveller" that many college students in N. America want to be.
if that is the reason... then dont go.
Not "want to be"...its "are". Its not actually striving to be different...its striving to be a like, but just with a different crowd. I know some college students in my college who have already gone to hostile environments. They're back sitting in the same lecture hall as me, so why not me?
 

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Lord of Legoland
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Hey all...

I need help from very experienced travellers, who may have travelled in hostile environments.
Hey... I might be able to help a bit..

DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT - IT'S WAY TOO SOON FOR CIVILIANS!


Are there any travellers here who have visited Iraq Lebenon or Israel/Palistine since 2003 that would like to comment on their trips?
I've spend a couple months in southern Iraq... and let me start by saying going as a civilian is a BAD idea, no matter who you know or who you are with!

In the south you'll want to enter by car ( with ALL the papers needed ) from Kuwait... that will take you on a highway north - this road is full of traffic and pretty safe as long as you don't look too caucasian - remember that Iraqis don't need driver lincences - being male is enough - so driving here is VERY dangerous - it's not unusual with pile ups with deathcouths at 5+ ( I kid you NOT! ) so make sure the car you drive is solid and with modern safety features..

( at the very least you'll need a sat phone, mobile, extra gas, gold and lots and lots of dollars )

This road is used a lot by coalition forces but don't expect them to stop and help is civilian as the military here is normally conwoys and not security patrols...

If you go north-northeast you'll hit Basra - the city itself is safe enough ( but DON'T drive around the northern suburbs!!! ) - keep in the car in unpopulated areas... there's not much worth seing here, but the areas along the water might be worth a brief visit... and the markets..

From there you can follow a fairly safe highway up to Al Qurnah where the Tigris and Eufratees meet.. there you will find a nice little park with a single tree said to be the tree of knowlegde from the Bible..
Whatever the three is or was it's remarkable that it's left alone by the locals despite being dead and wood being in such a high demand!

Going north from there you will hit Al Amarrah and you'll enter a danger zone that goes all the way up to Baghdad..

Alternatively you can go west from Al Qurnah to Nasiriyah where you'll find the old Mesopotamien city of UR ( or what's left of it )... the city is relatively safe but like the rest don't offer much.. the bridges has a lot of military history, but it's not a safe area if you loo too interested in it, so stay in the car..


North of that is unsafe all the way up is indians land too, so drive fast and don't stop until you reach the green zone in Baghdad ( if you'll even be able to enter it )

All US controlled territory is extremely dangerous compared to Danish or British ( the south ) - I'd keep in MNDSE's area if I was you!
Oh and keep in mind you can NOT rely on help from international forces - and you will not be alowed inside in any base anywhere!

An alternative to Baghdad would be the safe Al Faw peninsula - here you wont have much worries, but it's a desolate area heavily scarred by the Iran-Iraq war.. the most interesting will be along the Shat Al Arab river where there's lush and green... but this is also tribal territory ( like ALL river areas ) so take care and don't drive around the same area for too long..

There's very few hotels, and those there are will just get you kidnapped doing the night - and sleeping in the car the same, so stay with locals you trust or the few international hotels used by reprters and news crews..


All in all it's a REALLY bad idea to go alone or in a small group.. and I doubt you'll be able to rent a car for the purpose and even if you'll have an extremely hard time finding gas for it, as there's few gasstations and huge lines the days they actually offer gas..

You'll also be in huge risk of kidnapping even if your mate has tribal ties or you hire local security - Iraq is divided in tribes and religious groupings, and even the local cops and military work for their local shiek before the goverment and most are open to make a few quick bucks by handling over a few westerners to the local Al Queda or insurgant group ( there are large bouties! )..

There are many roadblocks, both by military, police and local tribal forces, most will check your stuff, so bringing weapons will only land you in jail or get you killed, so DON'T!
If hirering security go with an American group with ALL the permits needed, even the Kuwaitis can not fully be trusted...

If you really do want to see it for real, look up some official US protected achiologic group - going alone will be extremely expensive ( around $10-20.000/week I'll think ) and still ridicules dangerous..

Or you could join the military - it'll greatly decrease the risk and you'll even get payed! :)
 
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